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Old July 8th, 2012, 09:52 AM   #1
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Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

I've been lusting after the Sony PCM D-1...... I have a Sony PCM-D-50 that I use for recording guitar music by various artist who play my guitars ( I'm a guitar maker) I've been fairly happy with the D-50, but I think I'm ready to move up to something better. I like the ease and portability of the Sony....... question is........ is the PCM D-1 a good choice? I hear some compression with the D-50 that I'd like to get away from. In sound comparisons between the D-1 and D-50 the D-1 really sounds broader, and deeper, more realistic! I hear and have read nothing but rave reviews for the D-1.

I've read that for under $2000.00 you can't beat the sony. Any thoughts or comments would be welcome. Thanks.

BTW, the video was shot with a Canon A-1 and a Canon HV-40 both with Letus DOF adopters, it was my first time using the letus........ this will take some more experience.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 12:55 PM   #2
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Although using a simple portable recorder with x y onboard mics can be effective, I would suggest looking at a couple of matched condenser mics, (We use a couple of Rode NT5's for recording our Martin acoustic guitars) a small mixer and experimenting with different types of mic placement, before spending out on the D-1. See: Acoustic Guitar Recording Techniques

for example. The SN ratio of the D50 is pretty good, but you might find a broadcast quality pre amp worthwhile too.

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Old July 8th, 2012, 10:34 PM   #3
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Thanks Peter, I have an Akai, blue tube, and a couple of mics..... ha ha! not great ones..... but I like the ability to just bring one device for concerts and different recording situations. I've read it's hard to find the same quality in any recording set up that the sony offers, foe under $2000.00.

Perhaps I could use the D-1 as the main mic, and the D-50 as an ambient mic?
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Old July 9th, 2012, 01:33 AM   #4
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Hi Michael,

The D-1 is obviously a great machine; and it sounds to me like you have already decided to buy it and are looking for confirmation of your decision? -:)

I only questioned whether, without going to separate mics and a more "studio" like setup, you would really notice a sufficient amount of difference between the two machines. I have neither myself; just the litttle M-10 - with Beachtek XLR adapter, separate mics and separate very high quality pre-amp - for use with my Canon DSLR's.

When in doubt, "get both"! -:) ...you are certainly not going to be disappointed with a D-1. As you say, this would provide a very compact way of getting good ambient and instrument sound; well separated for later making up into location recordings.

Peter
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Old July 9th, 2012, 04:30 AM   #5
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

To be honest, no, I think you should be much better off with a pair of good large diafragm condenser mics and a separate recorder. The setup for guitar recording is better with a mike pointing at the 12th fret and slightly of the hole in the body. You can connect them to a portable or non-portable recorder. I use the Sound Devices 702 which has some good preamps. Non-portable recorders are a little cheaper. It may take a little longer to setup, but you will get much better sound.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 06:39 AM   #6
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

We are both in agreement Mario - hence my initial suggestion, and including the link showing separate mic placement options etc. and certainly the way I would go. It's not that much trouble to set things up like this and with proper balanced xlr cables running back to a conveniently placed mixer, monitoring and recording would be possible well away from the actual artist.

Another option I would consider for this kind of location recording, is the new Fostex DC-302 DSLR mixer recorder; which would give phantom power, three channels and although it means buying the separate condenser mics, would provide excellent results.

But Michael seems keen on the simple portable recorder option.

Peter
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Old July 9th, 2012, 07:54 AM   #7
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Michael - for that kind of money, I wouldn't settle for 96kHz sampling. I would want to step up to 192kHz.

Below $2000, only the
Sound Devices 702
that Mario uses, the http://www.amazon.com/R-44-Four-Channel-Field-Recorder/dp/B001722026, or the
Tascam HD-P2
(records to CF cards) will give you the higher sampling rate.

I really like the look of the D1, with its big VU meters - but I'd get any of the 192kHz recorders above before I'd pay http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Professional-Portable-24-bit-Recorder/dp/B000ETK872.

Cheers,

Bill
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Old July 9th, 2012, 10:42 AM   #8
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

The Tascam DR-680 will also record at 196kHz when recording in Stereo. At $700 for the recorder you could get a couple of good mics to go with it, stay under your $2K mark, and you'd come a way with better sound than than the PCM D-1.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:14 AM   #9
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Another good option of course But as an aside, we have the usual rip off Britain thing here. B&H listing the DR680 at $588.95 and the cheapest I have seen in the UK is over $900.00 ex vat; most stores list it at much more than this.

Solid State Sound for example list it at 650.00 ex vat http://www.solidstatesound.co.uk/tascam_dr680.htm

At today's exchange rate that amounts to $1007.00!

Peter
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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:37 AM   #10
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Thanks Peter Mario and Bill, you have convinced me to reconsider this. You know how it is when you want something, and get it into your mind this is it. The Sony is very seductive, and I'm not an audiophile or technocrat.

My question is this...... is the extra money spent on mic's after getting the Sound Devices 702 going to be that much more noticeable on YouTube? I mean SD-702 is $1800.00 then a couple of good mic's and you've spent $3500 to $4000 as opposed to the D-1 at $1700. The money is a consideration. I know you can spend $20,000 on audio stuff, and that's the problem...... there is no end to this stuff, and I'm not sure I want to start this addiction. I know all ready how it goes with video stuff.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:59 AM   #11
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Hi Michael,

All of which brings me back to my original suggestion and thought that all you really wanted was something a bit better than the D-50? You could achieve this with a small mixer - I do not think it needs to be of the order of the SD in your case - and a couple of nice condenser mics such as the Rode's we use.

All this could be purchased for about the same as your proposed investment in the D-1 And if all you are looking for is "Youtube" stuff, I would have thought your existing D-50 would be more than adequate?

But I still think it would be better to run mics away from the artist so that you can sit comfortably some distance away, record and monitor; just run the line out from the mixer into your D-50. I would see this as building upon the gear you already have and would produce a nice sound with better operational facilities.

And yes you can go on and on buying gear, and spend a fortune, but I think the overall answer for most things has to be choose something that is "good enough for pupose".

Peter
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Old July 10th, 2012, 09:21 AM   #12
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Peter thanks, yes, I have been busy checking out all the suggestions, and have to say the Sound Devices 702 looks real good, and I found a sound comparison with SD 702 and several others and clearly the SD was far superior..... amazing actually!
Brad Linder's blog: Comparing the Sony PCM-D50, Fostex FR2-LE, Zoom H4 and Sound Devices 702

One of the issues for me is I don't like "hot" guitar recordings in particular for classical guitar, I like the old fashion recording of Bream and Williams from the 60's they weren't so hot, and there was a lot of character and ambiance in their recordings. I guess I Like the XY configuration more than one mic aimed at the 12 fret and the other at the sound hole.

I know of a guy who has two Neuman 184 mics and Sound Devices (I think) and he gets a terrible sound, or I should say the antithesis to my conception of good sound, because he adds way too much reverb, and everything sounds too ethereal. You can have all the right equipment but, not the best ear. I have a good friend (a guitarist) who is about to buy the Sony D1 on recommendation buy an award winning audio engineer and he simply says get the Sony...... or spend 4 years going to school and $20,000 on some equipment, he also pointed out there is a difference with the Sony and SD in regards to the circuitry ( I don't understand) in which the Sony is better So, I'm torn in between the advice from this audio engineer, and the Sound Devices 702. He also points out that no one except a trained professional will hear the sample rate difference between 96 kHZ and 192.... maybe he is stretching the truth a little, I don't know.

The lowest cost of the Sony is around $1650.00

The other issue is I don't think my editing software supports 192 kHZ....... and will this be difference really be heard on YouTube or DVD's or downloaded from iTunes?

Thanks for everyones input, you really got me thinking more.
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Old July 10th, 2012, 10:41 AM   #13
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Thanks for the update Michael, and glad this little discussion has helped; even if you still have to make the final decision!

Audio quality, and what one finds pleasant to the ear, is a subjective thing really isn't it? You can only listen to so many people's thoughts, but must then reach your own conclusion. But I do agree with your audio engineer about sample rates. Do let us all know the results of your deliberations in due course!

Peter.
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Old July 11th, 2012, 09:20 AM   #14
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Peter....... dang, I'm still undecided. One more question. Between the Sound devices 702, and say the Fostex, or Edirol R 44 what's the difference....... the pre amps? Being, some what un-knowlegable, or just learning would I know, or hear a difference?

Peter, I notice you are in the wood business also.

BTW, I wonder is this stuff worth anything, I have two Akai dr1's, maybe I can sell some of it to cover the cost of the new stuff.

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Old July 11th, 2012, 12:07 PM   #15
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Re: Should I get a Sony PCM D-1

Hi Michael,

Decisions decisions! ... as I said earlier, I do not think there is anything wrong with the recording quality of the D-50 you already have; especially if you use the line in. So although one of the other field recorders mentioned would be good, just adding a modest mixer and a couple of condenser mics to your kit, would in my view, give pefectly acceptable results.

Visiting an audio store and listening to various options I suppose is the only real way to judge things; but Wingfield Audio have some useful portable recorder samples on their site, which might help.

I am all for research etc, but sometimes feel we can get too bogged down in the technical things. For example, for a couple of years recently, I photographed acoustic guitars each month for Acoustic magazine, and had the opportunity of seeing a multitude of instruments, including some pretty exotic ones. And after handling them, picking up my old Hagstom 12 string guitar I used all those years ago, it felt quite "Micky Mouse" really!

But it travelled thousands of miles, all over Europe, it was used used on radio and tv sessions, and on all the Weavers Green singles and album. So with it, I earned a very respectable living for over 8 years on the road and in the recording studio.

So I have to ask, would I have earned any more, or had a better time if I had played a more expensive guitar? I somehow doubt it. We just bought what we could afford and "went on the road". Any of the solutions mentioned here would provide great audio and on a practical level I do not think you would hear much difference whichever route you choose.

Selling gear to fund new purchases is a good thing I think; but sometimes difficult emotionally. My brother is currently lusting after a Martin 00028EC, but is reluctant to sell his existing Martin HD. Personally I doubt we'll hear that much difference in recordings, and suggested any money be spent on other aspects of the studio recording gear. But emotionally, he still wants the new guitar and finds ways to justify it.

So as you have found, decisions on most things in life are generally made from the heart not the head!

One final suggestion. Flip a coin. If you are disappointed at the outcome the coin suggests, and you make excuses like "well .. make it the best three" flips etc. you know which way your heart is leading you!

Peter
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